October 2010

Our Jobs, Our Future, Our Choice index.html Home    Print    Email

Go to www.ibew.org
So it's come down to this.

The cable TV anchors and pollsters are claiming that millions of Americans will protest against unemployment and a bad economy by sending incumbent members of Congress back home in the upcoming mid-term elections—no matter what their records have been or where they stand on the important issues.

Maybe they are right. But men and women who organize unions or stand up for their rights on the job and in the community-at-large aren't easily sold a bill of goods or a lot of smoke.

For this issue of The Electrical Worker, we talked to grassroots activists and local union leaders across the country about the critical issues in the upcoming elections and which candidates are on the side of working families in these difficult times—based upon their records and accomplishments in and out of office.

More information and grassroots stories from battleground states across the country are provided on the IBEW Web site, www.ibew.org/election2010.

Today, some wealthy business groups are pouring money into the campaigns of anti-worker extremists. These candidates—if they win—say they will roll back everything from health and safety regulations in the workplace to measures that have put jobless Americans back to work rebuilding our nation's infrastructure. They praise some of the same policies and thinking that nearly dragged our national and global economy into another Great Depression.

The stakes are high. But activists we interviewed for this issue believe it's not too late for good choices and good candidates to rise above confusion and emotionally-charged messages funded by those whose policies would harm union members and our families.

Hot Races: Crucial States & Districts
Alaska Nevada
California New Hampshire
Colorado New York
Connecticut North Carolina
Delaware Ohio
Florida Pennsylvania
Georgia Texas
Illinois Vermont
Indiana Washington
Kentucky West Virginia
Maryland Wisconsin


Alaska IBEW Ramps Up Efforts for Pro-Worker Candidates

Anchorage, Alaska, Local 1547 Communications Director Melinda Taylor says that while the labor movement didn't always see eye-to-eye with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, she always "understood the importance of using her office to create jobs for Alaskans and respected the role unions play in making our economy work."

Taylor contrasts this with Joe Miller, the Sarah Palin-backed candidate who upset Murkowski in the GOP primary.

"Miller's against Social Security, Medicare, project labor agreements and wants to make Alaska a right-to-work-for-less state," Taylor said.

Miller has also called for slashing federal aid to Alaska, aid that has been vital in creating good jobs and maintaining a decent infrastructure in this expansive and underdeveloped state.

But Taylor says working families are lucky to have an alternative: Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams. Endorsed by the IBEW and the Alaska labor movement, Taylor says that McAdams "understands the challenges working families face. As a former union member himself, he has made clear that he would be a strong voice for workers on Capitol Hill."

For more information about Alaska go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Alaska.htm.

Back to top


IBEW Takes On ‘Wall Street Whitman'

For Los Angeles Local 11 organizer Kevin Norton, the stakes of this year's gubernatorial contest between former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and Attorney General Jerry Brown couldn't be higher.

"This is the kind of election where the wrong results could set back the labor movement by decades," Norton said.

Whitman, a former Wall Street executive, is running on one of the most anti-worker platforms in California history, Norton says. "She has no qualms about attacking the labor movement and making clear that if she was elected, we would be her first target," Norton said.

But working families have a strong advocate in former Gov. Jerry Brown, says Los Angeles Local 11 Business Manager Marvin Kropke.

"Brown has a 40-year record of supporting working families, from expanding collective bargaining rights for California workers back in the 1970s to his recent efforts to crack down on contractors who abuse their workers," Kropke said.

Union members are also working to help re-elect Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is running against Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive who is widely reviled by former employees for nearly running the company into the ground, costing the jobs of 33,000 workers.

For more information about California go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/California.htm.

Back to top

California IBEW members attend a rally in favor of candidates in support of good jobs.


Colorado Activists Work to Build Pro-Working Families ‘Wave' in November

Timio Archuleta, assistant business manager, Denver Local 111, has been involved in political campaigns since 1972. From the start of his career as a welder at the Public Service Company of Colorado 38 years ago, Archuleta has seen "wave elections" where incumbents are vulnerable due to the frustrations of the voting population.

Archuleta sees a wave coming in November, but that's all the more reason, he says, for union members to get real clear on which candidates truly support working families. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, says Archuleta, has done a good job since replacing former Sen. Ken Salazar, who was appointed Secretary of the Interior last year.

Bennet, the former superintendent of Denver's schools and a fiscal conservative, has introduced legislation to increase job creation in solar technologies and helped bring $878 million in stimulus funding to Colorado.

For more information about Colorado go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Colorado.htm.

Back to top


Connecticut Race Draws IBEW Stalwarts

Charlie Witt has a 35-year history in the IBEW and a strong desire to help working families in Connecticut. This election season, the Groton Local 261 member and registrar has been getting volunteers to pound the pavement and phone bank for Senate candidate and popular state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal—a veteran lawmaker with solid AFL-CIO backing.

Witt said he's impressed with Blumenthal's demonstrated commitment to fighting outsourcing. When aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney tried to close part of its Connecticut operations and send jobs to Mexico early this year, Blumenthal filed an injunction with the U.S. District Court. The judge decided that the company's attempted move would violate its contract with the machinists' union.

"Richard has done a lot to help workers in our state," Witt said. "There are about 1,000 union members at Pratt & Whitney who can thank him for helping them keep their jobs. You can bet he's going to get their backing, along with votes from many more workers."

Blumenthal's challenger, Linda McMahon, is the ex-chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment—a former Fortune 500 company that has come under fire for seriously mistreating employees. McMahon's campaign has spent tens of millions of dollars on negative advertising, and she has announced that she is prepared to spend even more.

For more information about Connecticut go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Connecticut.htm.

Back to top


Chris Coons for Delaware's U.S. Senate Seat

Jerry Connor, political coordinator for Wilmington, Del., Local 1238, is working hard to send New Castle County Executive Chris Coons to the U.S. Senate to fill the seat once held by Vice President Joe Biden.

Many members of the utility local live in New Castle County, says Connor, who serves as the local's treasurer and administrative assistant. They know how difficult a job Coons has had managing a county that has seen its tax base and citizens hit hard by the shutdown of General Motors and Chrysler assembly plants.

When Valero decided to close its oil refinery, Coons worked with the state's governor to keep the plant from being dismantled. The plant's new owners have made an immediate investment of up to $150 million to renovate the plant and perform maintenance work that will restore 500 jobs.

Coons earned Local 1238's endorsement after expressing strong support for extending unemployment benefits, opposing right-to-work laws and passing the Employee Free Choice Act.

For more information about Delaware go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Delaware.htm.

Back to top


Fla. Members Stand up to Anti-Worker Candidates

A strident opponent of the Employee Free Choice Act, Senate candidate Marco Rubio supports extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. He advocates ending stimulus spending that reversed job loss in a state with nearly 12 percent unemployment and promotes raising the retirement age for Social Security benefits.

In a three-way contest for the Sunshine State's open Senate seat, Rubio is facing Gov. Charlie Crist—an ex-Republican running as an independent who has the backing of some labor unions—and Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Democrat who activists say is a bona fide fighter for workers facing hard times.

Jason Smith is chairman of Tampa Local 824's COPE committee and helps coordinate IBEW political operations in Florida. The Verizon employee has been knocking on doors, leafleting and hitting construction job sites to speak face-to-face with voters about Meek's support for working families.

"Kendrick is a definite friend of labor," Smith said. "And in a time when anti-worker candidates like Rubio are trying to use wedge issues to divide us, we need to not get pulled aside. We have to focus on the most important thing—our jobs. Meek's record shows he's got our interests at heart."

For more information about Florida go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Florida.htm.

Back to top


IBEW Geared Up for Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes' Campaign

Don Goodwin started phone banking for Atlanta Local 613's political efforts a few years back as a "family affair," accompanied by his daughter, Olivia. She enjoyed helping, said the 37-year journeyman inside wireman. One of those candidates was Roy Barnes, who was elected governor with strong labor support. Then, in 2003, he was defeated by Sonny Perdue.

Today, Barnes is again running for governor. Olivia is in college with hopes of attending law school. Goodwin is back on the phones and knocking on doors.

Supporting Barnes, he says, should be a "no-brainer" for union members. Barnes' opponent, former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deale, he says, is anti-worker. More importantly, Barnes, who comes from Goodwin's hometown of Mableton, has a solid record of accomplishment in bettering the lives of working families.

"We have lost General Motors and Ford manufacturing plants within 25 miles of Atlanta," said Atlanta Local 613 Assistant Business Manager Jerome Jackson. "Our members could have been building transit and bullet trains. Roy Barnes is a proactive guy who cares about people and will fight for funding for transportation projects to revive our economy."

For more information about Georgia go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Georgia.htm.

Back to top

Dan Goodwin, member of Atlanta Local 613 with daughter, Olivia, makes phone calls on behalf of former Gov. Roy Barnes.


Challenging Big Business Politics in Illinois

Mike Clemmons, a member of Joliet, Ill., Local 176, will never forget Alexi Giannoulias coming to the aid of 600 union workers at the Hartmarx clothing factory outside of Chicago.

With Wells Fargo threatening to withdraw credit from the famous producer of men's suits—which would effectively shut the business down—Giannoulias, the state's treasurer, who is running for the Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama, told the bank that it would lose all state business if it moved against Hartmarx. One year later, the factory, now under new management, is thriving.

"Alexi is for middle-income individuals," said Clemmons, a member of Local 176's voluntary political action committee. "He wants to give tax breaks to people who will put money back into the economy, unlike his opponent, Rep. Mark Kirk, who is in lock-step with the old Bush trickle-down economics."

Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO and former business manager of Decatur Local 146, applauds Giannoulias' proposal for an ambitious public works and infrastructure plan paid for by repealing big oil tax breaks and reinvesting in American jobs.

"Alexi Giannoulias shows us he knows what it takes to get this country back on track," Carrigan says. "This election is about jobs and reinvestment in American workers. If we invest in the work force, that investment is returned in middle-class buying power and the strength of sustainable employment."

For more information about Illinois go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Illinois.htm.

Back to top

Michael Clemmons, Joliet, Ill., Local 176 (left) and Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias prepare to go door-to-door with 70 volunteers to talk about the choices for voters in 2010.


Indiana Mobilizes Against Right-to-Work Legislation

The future of the labor movement in Indiana could hinge on the results of a handful of state House races, says South Bend Local 153 Membership Development Director Troy Warner. The Republican Party—which controls the state Senate—is only three seats away from a House majority, which would allow Gov. Mitch Daniels to realize his goal of making Indiana a right-to-work state. Daniels has also promised to do away with prevailing wage laws.

"We have to make sure that pro-worker lawmakers keep the House, because our jobs and our livelihoods are at stake," Warner said.

The state AFL-CIO reports that workers in right-to-work states earn about $5,333 less than workers in other states; the rate of workplace deaths is 51 percent higher.

The IBEW is mobilizing to make sure state Rep. Nancy Michael, who represents a key district, holds onto her seat, while helping challengers Jesse James, the son of an Indianapolis Local 1393 member, and Linton Township Trustee Bionca Gambill in their bids to unseat anti-worker incumbents.

For more information about Indiana go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Indiana.htm.

Back to top


Louisville Lineman Looks for Unity in '10

Kevin Harris, a 29-year member of Louisville, Ky., Local 2100, a lineman at Louisville Gas and Electric, hasn't found a politician that he agrees with on every issue. He says he decides who to vote for based on whether they are "generally pushing in the right direction."

That approach leaves no doubt where he stands on the Senate race between Republican Tea Party-supported candidate Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway, Kentucky's Attorney General.

Responding to Paul's statement, made at the start of his campaign, that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was "unfair" to businesses by telling them they couldn't discriminate, Harris says:

"I've learned that we often fear people we don't understand," Harris said. "Rand Paul has a right to his beliefs and so do his supporters, but Kentucky and America need unity, not division."

For more information about Kentucky go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Kentucky.htm.

Back to top

Louisville, Ky., Local 2100 member Kevin Harris favors Jack Conway for U.S. Senate over Rand Paul, who's spoken out against the Civil Rights Act.


Young Md. Trade Unionist Supports Pro-Labor Governor

Cory McCray is a busy man. Business representative for Baltimore Local 24, a founder of the Young Trade Unionists, McCray is spending his weekends knocking on doors campaigning for a seat on Maryland's Democratic Central Committee.

"I'm running to serve on the state's central committee to give labor a voice, to engage and educate youth in my community and to be involved in the political process," he said.

For McCray and his local union, involvement means re-electing Martin O'Malley as the state's governor. He points to O'Malley's support of legislation to stem the rampant misclassification of workers in the state that deprives many of earnings and the right to organize. And he praises O'Malley's courage in supporting prevailing wage legislation in some counties where organized labor is often marginalized.

For more information about Maryland go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Maryland.htm.

Back to top

Baltimore Local 26 member Cory McCray campaigns for Gov. Martin O'Malley.


Missouri Members Look to Rout Anti-Worker Candidate

When Kansas City, Mo., Local 124 Business Manager Terry Akins requested his member of Congress, Rep. Roy Blunt, to support unemployment benefits for laid-off workers, Akins was taken aback by Blunt's brusque response.

"This guy hasero compassion for workers suffering hard times," Akins said.

Activists like Akins are highlighting Blunt's anti-worker stance in advance of the November Senate elections, in which Blunt is running against the popular and union-endorsed Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. Blunt is a 14-year congressman and was a member of the House GOP leadership during the Bush years. He garnered a near-perfect Chamber of Commerce voting record.

Since 2004, Carnahan has solidified her bonds with the working class and organized labor, Akins said: "With her recent appointments to the Missouri Department of Labor, it is once again the Department of Labor and not the ‘Department of Management.' Carnahan works closely with those appointees to ensure compliance with state prevailing wage laws."

Journeyman wireman James Wilkinson is volunteering his time as a state registrar to mobilize members to vote for Carnahan.

"For this election, we need to vote in leaders like Carnahan who have workers' interests at heart," Wilkinson said. "It's important to communicate how drastic the difference is between these two candidates. With Blunt, If you're not rich already, he doesn't care about you."

For more information about Missouri go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Missouri.htm.

Back to top

'The jobs picture is slow, and for this election, we need to vote in leaders like Robin Carnahan who have workers' interests at heart,' said Local 124 journeyman wireman and state registrar James Wilkinson.


Nevada IBEW Mobilizes for Good Jobs, Retirement Security

For Vacaville, Calif., Local 1245 member Mike Grimm, the right choice in this year's Senate election in Nevada couldn't be any more obvious.

"You've got Sharron Angle, a total extremist who wants to eliminate Social Security, Medicare, the Departments of Education and Energy, unemployment insurance and who knows what else," said the NV Energy troubleman. "And then you have Sen. Harry Reid, who has a solid record of bringing good paying jobs to Nevada and supports creating a fair economic playing field for workers."

IBEW members throughout the Silver State are mobilizing to let working families know about Angle's extreme anti-worker agenda.

"She's made it clear she wants to privatize Social Security, just like Bush tried to do," said Tom Bird, vice president of the Sparks/Reno Local 1245 Retirees Club. He has been working with members of the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans to call attention to Angle's anti-Social Security agenda. They have held emergency meetings across the state and have organized pickets at Angle's office.

Many elected GOP officials, including the mayor of Reno, see her positions as so extreme that they have endorsed Reid.

For more information about Nevada go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Nevada.htm.

Back to top

Southern Nevada Joint Apprenticeship Director Madison Burnett (left) and Sen. Harry Reid throw the switch to a 2.4 kilowatt wind turbine housed at Las Vegas Local 357's training center last April.


New Hampshire IBEW Says: ‘Workers Can't Afford to Sit This One Out'

Second District International Representative and New Hampshire native Kevin Cash says he understands the frustrations IBEW members feel about the slow pace of change in Washington, D.C. But union members can't afford to sit this one out.

"Wall Street, the Chamber of Commerce, ABC, they're spending millions to get their candidates into office and if they win Congress, they will come after everything we have fought for in the IBEW and the labor movement," Cash said.

Dover Local 490 Business Manager Joseph Casey says the IBEW is mobilizing its members to help re-elect Carol Shea-Porter, who has racked up a strong pro-worker record as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, leading the effort to eliminate the Bush-era personnel rules that were highly unpopular among government workers.

The IBEW is also mobilizing behind Rep. Paul Hodes, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Judd Gregg. Hodes sponsored the Trade, Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act, which sets tough new standards to protect American jobs in the global economy.

For more information about New Hampshire go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/NewHampshire.htm.

Back to top


With Strong Senate Candidates in Tow, N.Y. Activists Focus on House Races

Boasting solid Senate records of supporting project labor agreements, the Employee Free Choice Act and prevailing wage laws, IBEW-endorsed candidates Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are on the right side of the issues concerning working families, labor leaders in New York say.

Third District International Representative Larry Davis coordinates the IBEW mobilization effort across the Empire State. The Geneva Local 840 member said re-electing Schumer and Gillibrand would be good news to a state where more than a quarter of residents have union dues receipts in their pockets.

"Sen. Schumer has been a friend of labor for years," Davis said. "Gillibrand is with us on many issues like stopping misclassification of workers, so we're working to get the membership pumped up for a high turnout. But it's not a lock, and we need to put our efforts behind them to make this happen."

With 29 contests statewide, IBEW activists are mobilizing members to get out the vote for candidates like Rep. Scott Murphy, whose pro-labor voting record has made him a friend of workers in the state's 20th District.

For more information about New York go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/NewYork.htm.

Back to top

Members of Rochester Locals 36 and 86 rally on Labor Day to pump up spirit for the upcoming elections.


Moving Forward in North Carolina

It's never been easy to be a union member in North Carolina, which has one of the lowest union density rates in the country. But the labor movement's recent successes in mobilizing members in support of pro-worker candidates is helping make the Tar Heel state a lot more worker-friendly.

The union movement is now looking to unseat incumbent Sen. Richard Burr, who has been widely criticized for putting the interests of big business and Wall Street over those of his constituents, says IBEW state political coordinator David Haynes.

Haynes, a Durham Local 289 member, says, "He has a nonexistent record when it comes to creating jobs or helping working families."

Burr most recently opposed a bill that would help local communities keep teachers, firefighters and police officers on the job by closing tax loopholes that benefit U.S. businesses that ship jobs overseas.

His opponent, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, is catching up in the polls, despite his lopsided financial advantage. Marshall has opposed unfair trade deals that have devastated North Carolina's manufacturing industry and supports investing in our nation's infrastructure by updating the power grid.

For more information about North Carolina go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/NorthCarolina.htm.

Back to top

IBEW North Carolina political coordinator David Haynes campaigns for Rep. Brad Miller, who has opposed bad trade deals that have devastated manufacturing and backed reforms to reign in Wall Street excess.


Ohio Electrician Urges: ‘Don't Slow Down the Recovery'

Gregg Ogden, a 17-year member of Marietta Local 972, has worked only seven weeks out of the last 20 months. Despite the hard times, Ogden sees signs that Ohio is beginning to turn the corner, thanks to some of the policies of the Obama administration and leaders in Congress.

Ogden says that he is supporting Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher for U.S. Senate because he doesn't want to see this progress sideswiped by a return to measures promoted by Republican nominee Rob Portman. As the Bush administration's trade representative, Portman supported billions of dollars in tax breaks and other measures that helped send 100,000 Ohio jobs overseas.

Drawing the contrast between candidates, Fisher says, "If Ohioans want to see the jobs that Congressman Portman has created after spending 20 years in Washington, they have to go to China, India and Mexico."

Choices for IBEW members in November couldn't be clearer than in Ohio. Gov. Ted Strickland, elected four years ago with strong labor support, began his term by appointing Fisher as head of economic development. They both won national recognition for attracting employers to Ohio. A June report from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that Ohio is fourth among states in the number of workers employed in green energy manufacturing and development.

For more information about Ohio go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Ohio.htm.

Back to top

Members of Toledo Local 8 march in the 2010 Labor Day Parade


Pa. Activists Mobilize for IBEW-Friendly Candidates

Paul Mullen knows it's nice to be on a first-name basis with his congressman. That's why when the Chester, Pa., Local 654 business manager talks about Rep. Joe Sestak, Mullen speaks of the pro-labor lawmaker like a solid friend.

"Joe's out front about his advocacy for labor," Mullen said. "A lot of politicians say they'll support you when they run, then they turn their backs on you. Joe's the opposite. He stands tall with the IBEW. Members here—they know Joe. He's been to the hall several times and he's toured our training facility. He's definitely one of us."

Now in a tight Senate race, Sestak has built a strong following among working families. He is an original co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act. He is against extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans but supports tax breaks for the middle class. Sestak also worked with the Department of Labor in creating the Labor Advisory Committee—which counts IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill as a member—to focus on challenges working families experience.

Sestak faces businessman Pat Toomey in the November race. Toomey opposed the 2009 stimulus, which reversed job loss in a state with 9 percent unemployment. He supports eliminating corporate taxes altogether and boasts a 90 percent approval rating by the United States Chamber of Commerce—a group that opposes workers' rights to organize.

For more information about Pennsylvania go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Pennsylvania.htm.

Back to top

Rep. Joe Sestak, left, visits with Chester Local 654 Business Manager Paul Mullen at the local's training facility.


Good Jobs In Texas

Houston Local 716 Assistant Business Manager Paul Puente knows what it is like not to have a voice on the job, having worked as a nonunion electrician for nearly a decade. "Without a union, you don't have the power to make change," Puente said.

And as an organizer for the local, he learned that many issues that affect IBEW members—job creation, prevailing wage, health care and labor law—can't be changed at the work site alone. "We need to make sure workers express their voice in Austin and in Washington, D.C. as well as on the jobsite," he said.

One of the hottest races in Texas this year is the gubernatorial contest between Houston Mayor Bill White and incumbent Rick Perry. White is tied with Perry in public polls. Houston Local 66 Assistant Business Manager Mike Mosteit chalks up Perry's precarious position to his failure to create good jobs statewide.

"West Texas has become a leader in wind power, but we need investment in renovating our power system so it can transmit that power to the large population centers in the east," Mosteit said.

But Perry, who has run up a record state deficit, has promised nothing but budget cuts.

For more information about Texas go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Texas.htm.

Back to top

Houston Local 716 Assistant Business Manager Paul Puente, with wife Janie, says, ‘Our vote is power—the power to support lawmakers who put working families first.'


Vermont Local Endorses Republican for Governor

Jeffrey Wimette, business manager of Montpelier, Vt., Local 300, didn't know how his members would respond when the local's executive board voted to endorse Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie against five Democrats running in the state's gubernatorial primary. It was the first time the local had endorsed a Republican.

"I received more congratulatory e-mails than ever before," Wimette said.

Representing 1,000 utility members and 200 construction electricians, Local 300 had waged a protracted campaign to support the re-licensing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant which employs hundreds of local members. All of the Democratic candidates had opposed the plant's continued operation. But Dubie supported the local union's position.

It wasn't the first time that Dubie, an Air National Guard veteran, an American Airlines pilot, and member of the Allied Pilots Association had gone to bat for union jobs. Dubie also gave voice to IBEW members' concerns during the sale of Verizon's copper land lines to Fairpoint.

"Why are we supporting Brian Dubie? One word—integrity. He has shown loyalty, respect, honor and selfless service," Wimette said.

For more information about Vermont go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Vermont.htm.

Back to top

GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Dubie, right, counts IBEW members among his supporters.


Washington Activists Mobilize Members

Seattle Local 46 member Nicole Grant's task is mobilizing members to get out the vote for Sen. Patty Murray. The 32-year-old journeyman wireman is the state's political coordinator.

Murray is a proponent of higher wages and tax-funded projects, in stark contrast to her challenger, Dino Rossi. "We have construction locals with upward of 60 percent unemployment," Grant said. "We've gotten some stimulus money, but we need more to put people back on the job doing infrastructure projects."

Murray successfully fought for federal funding to bolster the state's infrastructure, veterans' hospitals and schools. She was an original sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, has fought to raise the minimum wage and boasts a 90 percent labor voting record. Murray voted for unemployment extensions for laid-off workers and is an enthusiastic supporter of project labor agreements.

Rossi's approval rating on labor issues sags at 6 percent. The real estate salesman supported cutting jobless benefits as well as supporting President Bush's restrictions on overtime pay. As a state legislator, he voted against collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Recent polling shows Murray and Rossi in a dead heat among voters.

For more information about Washington go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Washington.htm.

Back to top

Everett, Wash., Local 191 member and registrar Jodi Howson, left, talks politics with Sen. Patty Murray.


Sen. Byrd's Legacy on the Line in W.Va.

Charleston, W.Va., Local 466 Business Representative John Boyd knows that it will be difficult for anyone to fill the legendary shoes of Sen. Robert Byrd, who died in June at age 93 after 51 years in office. But Boyd says IBEW's choice in this year's election, Gov. Joe Manchin, shares Byrd's deep respect for the working people in his state.

Boyd recalls the tough time unions had bargaining with CSX, owners of the exclusive Greenbrier Resort in his native Mercer County. With CSX leaning toward declaring the Greenbrier bankrupt last year, Manchin supported the efforts of entrepreneur Jim Justice to purchase the resort and help save the health insurance and pensions of 1,700 workers there, including 11 IBEW members.

Dave Efaw, the former business manager of Local 466, now secretary-treasurer of the state building and construction trades, remembers Manchin first running for office without labor support. Today, says Efaw, "Manchin has an open door to unions. He has supported prevailing wages and has lobbied employers to give priority to state residents on their construction projects."

For more information about West Virginia go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/WestVirginia.htm.

Back to top

Charleston, W.Va., Local 466 Business Representative John Boyd supports Senate candidate Joe Manchin.


Feingold Faces Deep-Pocketed Challenger

In Wisconsin, the IBEW and the labor movement are getting behind Sen. Russ Feingold, who is facing a challenge from Oshkosh millionaire Ron Johnson.

Feingold has been a champion of working families for years, supporting policies that create American jobs and honor workers' rights. Says Wisconsin AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Sara Rogers: "We will do whatever we need to do to get the message out that Ron Johnson is not for working families."

Johnson has made keeping his plastics company nonunion a priority and supports tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. He even admitted during a radio interview that China has a better business climate than the United States.

For more information about Wisconsin go to www.ibew.org/Election2010/states/Wisconsin.htm.

Back to top